I got a new mobile the other day, the ubiquitous Nokia 3210. I've been having fun with custom ring...

I got a new mobile the other day, the ubiquitous Nokia 3210. I've been having fun with custom ring tones and operator logos; my phone now says "Star Wars" and plays the Imperial March (that's Darth Vader's theme) when it rings. Which is nice. BoltBlue are the only people I've found who will send you operator logos for free (and only one per day!); lots of people will send you cool ring tones, YourMobile has a large selection. I can't believe these people actually charge money for black-and-white icons.
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I've stopped posting interesting stuff I read on SlashDot for two reasons: It's all interesting,...

I've stopped posting interesting stuff I read on SlashDot for two reasons: It's all interesting, and You should be reading it anyway Suffice to say that I recommend nearly everything posted to Slashdot every day.
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Hilariously, if you know the people involved, a management coup has apparently been attempted at...

Hilariously, if you know the people involved, a management coup has apparently been attempted at BrainSpark, the "incubator" company of my former dot-com employers, EasyArt. The coup itself was apparently attempted by the former chief operating officer of EasyArt itself, who at one point was my immediate superior :-). God, dot-coms are funny, I wish I was working there earning silly money again.
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Okay, so this one's worth mentioning... a black-hat hacker's diary on ZDNet: they paid two...

Okay, so this one's worth mentioning... a black-hat hacker's diary on ZDNet: they paid two professional scam artists to record a diary for a day, and the results are really interesting. Most interesting is the fact that they rely on AOL's screen name == login name policy as the starting point for the spamming that is their main source of income. Me, I like my anonymity. Work got interesting today for the first time since it started; I have to convert some Excel spreadsheets into Access databases, but the formats are completely different, so I may have to learn VBA to write some code that does the conversion for me...
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A really interesting new concept: Extreme Programming. A bit of a misnomer, it's actually a new set...

A really interesting new concept: Extreme Programming. A bit of a misnomer, it's actually a new set of rules and strategies about how to develop code as a team; it is apparently extensively field-tested and has been very successful, and people who've tried it like it a lot. I wonder how Warwick will react if I tell them I've developed a strategy for my end-of-term project that involves coding in pairs? :-)
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Fame at last! Kinda. A few weeks ago, my housemate Simon exhibited a better-than-average display...

Fame at last! Kinda. A few weeks ago, my housemate Simon exhibited a better-than-average display of complete stupidity. So there was only one thing to do: I sent the story to Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert) to mock. And he did! The lastest Dilbert newsletter has, as True Tale of an Induhvidual #4: I attend one of the top universities in the UK. My housemate recently surpassed his usual high standard of stupidity. He needed to open a bottle. After hanging around looking helpless, someone handed him a wine opener (the corkscrew type) that had a bottle opener on one end. My housemate disappeared for five minutes and reappeared with an apologetic look on his face. "I've broken it. I'm sorry." Under questioning he confessed that he had been trying to screw the corkscrew through the top of the metal bottle cap. So, yes, he really is exceptionally stupid. My faith in humanity is partially restored. (It will be fully restored if George W. Bush doesn't get reelected).
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Reason just rocks. Journalistic intelligence in its purest natural form. Rocks rock rocks.

Reason just rocks. Journalistic intelligence in its purest natural form. Rocks rock rocks.
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Have found another pretty good site for text messaging -- free SMS, costs 5p per message if you...

Have found another pretty good site for text messaging -- free SMS, costs 5p per message if you want to send more than three messages to the same person. TextMessaging.co.uk. Nice interface, too.
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Fantastic article on Kuro5hin (a sort of Slashdot clone, but more general in scope) about the...

Fantastic article on Kuro5hin (a sort of Slashdot clone, but more general in scope) about the nature of reality and how this relates to the increasing numbers of struggles going on between corporations and individuals, namely how it is that a corporation made up of individuals (such as the RIAA) can end up doing something that none of the individuals themselves want -- a topic originally touched upon, if I recally correctly, by The Grapes of Wrath (which I never finished reading), in which the protagonist's farm is repossessed by the bank, even though the bank employees themselves aren't too thrilled about making somebody homeless.
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Also, I may be in love.

Also, I may be in love.
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Should you ever have to, as I am now, work with a database in MS Access, this place is a pretty...

Should you ever have to, as I am now, work with a database in MS Access, this place is a pretty useful resource. And of course, as usual, Google knows all :-)
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I am under the impression I should be posting to this a lot more than I am. Four days is a rather...

I am under the impression I should be posting to this a lot more than I am. Four days is a rather long gap for what is, officially, the most frequently-updated part of my site. But hey, it's been a long weekend, though, so hopefully that will excuse this and the fact that I've done absolutely no revision, even though my exams are in exactly one week -- a timespan that has gone from embarrassing to scary in a surprisingly short space of time. I should be studying right now, of course, but since I've watched three movies, done two loads of laundry, cooked and done the washing up twice I don't think procrastination holds any fears for me right now. I am more than slightly scared at this news (from SlashDot of course) that Amtrak lets the Drug Enforcement Administration have a link into their passenger database in order to track the movements of suspects. This would be scary enough in the big brother style, but even better, in return the DEA gives Amtrak a cut of the proceeds from seized property if any...
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More on the possibilities of plastic transistors, one of the ingredients in the flexible displays...

More on the possibilities of plastic transistors, one of the ingredients in the flexible displays that light emitting polymers (which I mentioned a few weeks ago) will make possible. Remember, you heard it here first, or at least fairly early on. I want a flat-screen display for a t-shirt. The site the article comes from, the unfortunately-named eCompany Now, seems to be quite cool as well -- a very wide range of topics are covered, and it provides news and long-term resources, as well as the interesting-sounding What Works database, essentially a list of success stories with details of what made them successful. Cool. Other interesting news today is this MSNBC (yuck) article about a really cool-looking robot arm which will be the main maintenance and construction tool for the new Internation Space Station. It's a clever design. A robot arm with "hands" at both ends, either one of which can hook into power supply and data sockets along the length of the station, the first hands can slot into some power, the...
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Today's articles of interest include another Wired article on big media in the US, a fairly good...

Today's articles of interest include another Wired article on big media in the US, a fairly good summary of why monolithic media is a bad idea, and exactly how close the US already is to this being the case. Funny quote: "There are six or seven media conglomerates that rule the world... [b]ut how many companies do you need to provide programming to mass audiences? Six companies should be enough. At least it's not two." Scary in a completely different way is the robot with the mind of an eel, a probably-cool concept but I dunno, how big an animal will they do this kind of thing to? Am I comfortable using my smart TV if there was a cuddly-puppy brain powering it? Ick. On the business front, a very interesting article (Wired again) which explains why the Dot-Com crash is as much hype as the Dot-Coms were themselves. Unemployment is 4.3% in the US, even lower in the UK, the US still has a shortfall of over 400,000 tech jobs (!), and even though announcements of layoffs have risen by 113%, actual layoffs rose...
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I need to get into the habit of posting all the articles I find interesting here. Here's one from a...

I need to get into the habit of posting all the articles I find interesting here. Here's one from a few days ago that I didn't mention, it's Tim Berners-Lee talking about the Semantic Web. As the guy who invented HTML, he commands an awful lot of well-earned respect, and this is a brilliant concept. The Economist, brilliant as ever, reminded me of this article today with their own article talking about the future of software. The future they describe is essentially the future of the semantic web -- content that knows what it is, but more importantly says what it can do, which other software can then exploit. The Economist article is part of a larger survey of software in that issue which got good reviews from other quarters.
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Next generation fibre optics will be hollow tubes filled with air. And it only took them forty...

Next generation fibre optics will be hollow tubes filled with air. And it only took them forty years to work out that light travels faster in air than in glass.
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Fantastic news! (Thanks to Ed for pointing it out). Apparently, laziness is good for you. This may...

Fantastic news! (Thanks to Ed for pointing it out). Apparently, laziness is good for you. This may mean that after this vacation, I may be the healthiest person alive.
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Fame! I'm gonna live forever, etc.. Hot on the heels of my Dilbert-newsletter fame, I have finally...

Fame! I'm gonna live forever, etc.. Hot on the heels of my Dilbert-newsletter fame, I have finally had one of my submissions to SlashDot SlashDotted. In the words of Bridget Jones, Hurrah! Do I get to call myself a media mogul now? Incidentally, Bridget Jones's Diary is a very funny movie. As I think I mentioned, I read the book -- which I've been meaning to read for ages -- in anticipation of the movie, and the book really is much better, simply because in order to fit the time the movie throws out a lot of the subplots and detail of the book, which is part of what makes the book so funny. I made a slight update to the blog script last night, which should make navigation a bit nicer.
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COLUMBINE RANT

America has satiated the dwindling attention spans of its children with lowest common denominator shit in books, movies and education and has produced, surprise, a nation full of fucking morons. These stupid fucking morons form the dominant social class in America. They have well-developed herding instincts, are very susceptible to peer pressure, and have a sense of justice the central principle of which is "if anything bad happens, it's certainly not my fault" with the more recent addition of "and I should be heavily compensated for that". In schools, these morons decree that everyone should be as conformist as they possibly can, so when you get the odd smart, dumb, black, gay, non-blonde-cheerleader person in a school who doesn't want to follow the crowd in every way, that person finds their life miserable. As a result, the nonconformists frequently find they want to kill all the fucking morons. This is a justified and sensible feeling; the fucking morons are contributing nothing to their world, and are...
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The Economist has an interesting article about Silicon Fen, the Silicon-Valley equivalent in...

The Economist has an interesting article about Silicon Fen, the Silicon-Valley equivalent in Cambridge, UK. It mentions that many of the companies in Cambridge seem "more interested in lifestyle than making money" and making good products instead of going public. What's most interesting is the attitude it takes towards this situation: it seems sympathetic, as if not going all out to make as much money as possible is some kind of flaw for which these companies should be seeking forgiveness. It also points out that Cambridge town planners are putting up quite a lot of resistance to the town being turned into a Silicon Valley clone, which the Economist also seems to think is a major mistake. I'm not so sure.
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My acquaintance (he would probably object if I called him my friend) Matt Elton has put up as...

My acquaintance (he would probably object if I called him my friend) Matt Elton has put up as absolutely fantastic website. Coming from an inveterate web-snob like me, this is no small praise. The design is somewhat screwy and ad-hoc, but content is clearly king, and his content is clearly very good. It tends towards the amusing, with breaks for the philosophical, somewhat like this site used to be before I decided that being geeky was much more fun. He has inspired me to start writing humour again -- or attempting it. He uses Dreamweaver to do the actual web development, which explains most of the bugginess (for instance the amusing fact that all his external links are just plain text :-) But obviously you can't have good content and superior design, can you? Also, he has very cleverly mentioned both this site and and me on his site, which clearly begets a reciprocal link or two. And oi, Matt, I wrote an article about science vs religion first.
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I am grievously ill, and back at University. I will probably not be posting for a few days as a...

I am grievously ill, and back at University. I will probably not be posting for a few days as a result of these two facts.
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I am just about better now, but without in-room internet access thanks to the ever-clever IT...

I am just about better now, but without in-room internet access thanks to the ever-clever IT department at the University of Warwick, which means my interesting snippets here will be less frequent, and you'll have to monitor SlashDot and Wired News all by yourself. It's sunny and warm -- in England! Who'd have thought it was even possible.
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Back in London for a weekend, what joy. An amusing link comparing Microsoft Tech Support and the...

Back in London for a weekend, what joy. An amusing link comparing Microsoft Tech Support and the Psychic Friends Network, sensibly concluding that neither of them are any help but that Psychic Friends are cheaper, more friendly, and respond faster :-) Also, IBM thinks self-policing networks would be a great idea: essentially AI programs which detect and manage problems on the network, malicious or otherwise. Slashdotters think it sounds more useful than it can practically be. Some very keen people are building computers with transparent cases. They look kinda cool, but would do better if more of the internal parts were also transparent. More amusingly, people from the state of Maryland are legally barred from using Microsoft's infamous Passport service (the same one that was in trouble recently for Terms of Service which essentially said Microsoft owned everything people posted to the services which used Passport, like, say, Hotmail). This is apparently because Maryland's version of an evil anti-consumer...
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I hate getting access from the Computer Science building at uni. I have to do all my online...

I hate getting access from the Computer Science building at uni. I have to do all my online slacking in one shot, which is very unsatisfying. Also, the building is too cold. Whine whine whine. But at least I don't have any lectures on Mondays. Amusing links today include I am the Very Model Of A songs, a series of Gilbert and Sullivan parodies.
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